Meet Odisha's chai-wallah D Prakash Rao who turned ‘messiah’ for slum children
D Prakash Rao, a tea seller in Cuttack who also runs a school for children living in slums, was praised by Prime Minister Modi in Mann Ki Baat this Sunday.
The 59-year-old tea seller has been the guardian angel to over 70 slum children for the last 18 years, by helping them get educated.
Speaking to ANI, Rao said 'I also help patients at the hospital. I sell tea till 10 am, after that I come here to teach & use half my income for this school'.
Sixty-year-old Rao has been selling tea at Buxi Bazaar since his childhood. He is staying at a slum with his wife and two daughters.
A school dropout himself, Rao started the school 'Asha O Ashwasana' in 2000 when he saw kids in his neighbourhood taking to petty crimes or becoming alcoholics.
The school that started with only one room in his home has grown up now because of some help from a few generous people in the city.
It is learnt that iIn the 1960s when his father, a World War II veteran, started a tea shop in Cuttack he encouraged Rao to help him. Rao's father thought schools were waste of time and never encouraged his son to attend school.
Rao's wife is a nurse in the SCB Medical College and Hospital who sustains the family with her income while a major part of his own income from the tea stall is spent on the school.
The school dropout speaks around eight languages- Odia, English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali.
His tea stall is also unique in many ways. It is known for a wide variety of teas including sugar free and lemon tea.